*Debut Author Alert*
Author: Liv Hadden
Rating: 4 STARS
Adult Fiction | 246 pages |Published by Dreams Into Reality Publishing
Mini Review: Liv Hadden delivers a promising start to a fast-paced, and thrilling new series. The portrayal of the gender-nonconforming antihero is executed effortlessly and truly places the reader “in the mind of revenge.”
Liv Haden is a compelling new novelist with a refreshingly modern writing style who we should all keep our eye on. I was lucky to be an early reader for In The Mind of Revenge last November and thoroughly enjoyed it then. After rereading it for this review, I can confidently say it holds up very well. I actually thought it was better the second time around!
The narrative is set in the near future and follows gender-nonconforming Shame, a person who was teased, bullied, tortured and left for dead by degenerate, irredeemable human beings. Seemingly for no other reason than Shame refusing to conform to the gender binary. On a brilliant move by the author, Shame’s gender and sexuality are never mentioned and are left for the reader to speculate or ignore entirely. I found this portrayal of a lead character to be incredibly refreshing because diversity in the expression of gender and sexuality is another aspect of human experience I want to discuss and promote at Read Diverse Books.
Back to the story — the novel opens with a gruesome, inhumane act perpetrated on Shame by the aforementioned irredeemable human beings. Initially this scene is shocking and may appear to be an unnecessarily extreme move on the author’s part, but really it’s not. The 21st century has seen its share of heinous crimes committed against transgender and gender-nonconforming people. Hateful bullying happens every day and it can certainly change people and make their worldview hopeless. Shame’s case is extreme, but is symbolic of the way bigotry, ignorance, and intolerance can change the people on the receiving end to their core.
Given the gruesome torture and humiliation Shame experienced, it is only too understandable that Shame would experience the world “in the mind of revenge.” After Shame wakes up recovered from the attack (with a fortified bone framework made of metal!), the next step is to seek out “justice” and retribution for what happened. This leads us to the thrilling, fast-paced, grim, brutal and sometimes funny adventure that makes up the nove
The cast of characters is colorful and diverse. I personally appreciate the characters of color that litter the story. Li, Anna, and Shadow are interesting supporting characters and I hope to see them in a more nuanced light in later entries to the series. Shame is predictably the most complex character in this relatively short novel. As readers, we naturally empathize with Shame. But shame is blunt and honest in the pithy opening sentence of the novel, “I am ugly.” Truly, Shame is an ugly human being in many ways and commits terrible acts out of a morbid sense of justice. However, Shame understands and accepts the rottenness inside, so I can at least respect that.
I recommend this exciting new series if you’re a fan of fearless storytelling. Though be warned, In The Mind of Revenge can get dark and bleak at times due to its visceral representation of a person who has been wronged, perhaps irreparably. Shame is a fascinating anti-hero that I will be following to the series’s end.
Meet The Author:
From Goodreads profile:
Author. Creator. Adventurer. Human. In that order.
Liv Hadden has her roots in Burlington, Vermont and has lived in upstate New York and Oklahoma, where she went to college at the University of Oklahoma,, and earned her degree in Environmental Sustainability Planning & Management. She now resides in Austin, TX with her husband and two dogs, Madison and Samuel.
Hadden also keeps a lively and active blog for writers. Visit her author website, livhadden.com to read articles such as “How To Publish Your Book For Less Than $100” and various other topics ranging from how to defeat writer’s block to finding inspiration for your writing.